One Tree Woodwork

Custom woodworking and art

On a razors edge

Turned an older file of mine into a knife this past weekend. I have made plenty of handles and sheaths for knives but never blades.It turns out that the majority of metal files are made out of a steel that also makes a pretty descent blade. For the most part files are made from high carbon steel and case hardened, so in order to cut and shape them into blades you must first anneal the blade which is essentially heating the metal to a very high temperature than allowing it to cool slowly. After which you can then cut and shape it with a basic metal-cutting wheel installed into a hand-held grinder. I decided for my first homemade blade I would do a small skinner type knife. I wanted to keep some of the files texture intact on the blade for several reasons, one I think it’s pleasing to the eye two I think its cool to pay homage to the original intent of a material when recycling and thirdly I thought it would be cool to be able to sharpen the blade on my axe with the spine of the knife. After the shaping of the blade its then necessary to then temper the blade to harden the now soft metal which requires you again to heat it to an extreme temperature which for most knifes the critical temperature is when the metal looses its magnetism at which point you quench the metal into a substance like oil. Some knife builders suggest to do this several times in order to get the best qualities out of the metal which translates into a metal hard enough to take a good edge yet soft enough not to be brittle. I have much to learn about blade making but find the process very interesting.

Handle was made from figured sycamore with mother of pearl inlay and on the blade and tang I experimented with putting different textures on the steel hammered,grooved,stippled and then leaving the spine with the original file texture.

After finishing the knife I was able to sharpen one of my small hatchets with the spine of the knife. Art+Recycle+dual purpose tool= Happy Tohner

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.
 Bertrand Russell quotes

P.S- this knife is too much that is to say there are to many elements at play and like food when working with quality ingredients one should let the ingredients do the talking but I wanted to experiment with several things at once and I find the best way to know if you like something is to try it. I think sometimes knowing what doesn’t work is more important than knowing what does.   keep truckin- T.

No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.
Albert Einstein


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This entry was posted on November 11, 2011 by in General woodworking.


Saturday. Samuel Adams Octoberfest. Maple Burl friction folder by Onetree. My newly planted Texas purple sage. Which interesting enough the native americans used to brew herbal teas that treated fever and chills. Mesquite grilled hamburgers accompanied by a mesquite friction folder. Made in Texas by me. Date night. #Reposting @artisanbuilt with @instagrab_pic -- We spent most of the morning back at the Seward Plantation working on project scope and pricing. You can't help but be transported back in time when you walk on the property. Not in the way a museum full of antiquities makes you feel. But in a real life honest representation of a home,outbuildings and contents that have somehow managed to survive in gritty glory since before the civil war. The beginning of my fall garden requires a matching beer. But of course. Coffee first. Saturday evening creek therapy. How many carpenters does it take to start an old land cruiser? Apparently it's more then four...... Date night. T-bones,beets,asparagus,mac and cheese and naan bread. And of course yet another gratuitous shot of one my homemade knifes.
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